Very likely you will not have a mental health toolkit ready and waiting for any moment you might need it. Your kitchen or bathroom cupboard undoubtably has a first aid kit, but a mental health toolkit – that’s just not a thing is it?

Here’s why it’s important and why waiting for a bad moment is the worse time to build a toolbox to help.

Don’t wait for a mental health blip to come your way. Act now.

Black and white image of Sarah sitting on the door step

A dalliance with the dark
I’m not immune to troubles with anxiety and have had a weird anxiety that has troubled me off and on since I was about 20. It’s not particularly fun, it’s probably easy to fix, but I cope and it has never held me back from doing anything, but last year something a little stronger headed my way.

And what I learnt is you have to be prepared for these moments…because sure as anything, when you hit the floor, it is near on impossible to access help. No candle, self help book and certainly not an Instagram post telling you to take 5 deep breaths is going to help.

Back in September 2021, I had a dalliance with the dark.

My daughter’s meltdowns connected to settling back into school were the thing that finally stopped me in my tracks. Stopped. If I’m honest I’ve battled through a lot over the last 7 years and always tried to find a bright side and keep smiling.

We spent the first year of my daughter’s life in and out of hospital (– I focused on how much better our situation was than the poor little man in the next room), watched my Mum battle with leukaemia and miraculously survive (– I hooked into her incredible strength and determination to beat it), supported my husband losing his father, my own beloved Dad passed away at the beginning of the first lockdown (- he was just in the same place he was in when I lived on the other side of the world), then there was the pandemic, the isolation from everyone and homeschool which we all had to dig deep to navigate. Losing a father and a Grandfather in that first lockdown, whilst having no space was tough.

I did really well, looked to the positive and even made progress in my business over that time.   But the fiery fusion of emotions from our small person were the straw that broke the camels back. And it needed to come out.

For 2 weeks I got locked inside my own head. In a blur of sadness, grief and unwillingness to do anything. I kept walking but couldn’t see out, kept alternating yoga and barre class but couldn’t really connect, I cried for help and felt ignored, I tried to work and sat staring at my screen, I googled to find a few things that might help and rather than help I just felt overwhelmed with more information, I logged into Instagram and felt uninterested by what felt like meaningless comments written for the sake of personal gain. I felt like my core was shaking, my brain was fuzzy and tears were constantly about to well.

Thankfully I don’t struggle with depression, but a dip down into the depths of mental health despair was lonely, debilitating and just well sad. And there was literally no help. Anywhere. No one could help. Well that’s how I felt anyway. And that’s the frightening thing.

What would you do if you couldn't find your smile?

Woman with a notepad, besides cup of coffee and phone
Content help

Have a mental health toolkit - ready and waiting

Here’s what I learnt and what helped…

  1. Continuing with exercise even if I had to drag myself onto the mat or out of the door to do it. This was no easy feat.
  2. Hearing others talk about their experiences. I listened to a great Happy Place podcast with Suranne Jones and realised I was far from alone. (What would you read or listen to).
  3. I stepped away from Instagram which I love, but I did look back at every reel I’d made to date and loved seeing the confidence and happy smiles I shared within them. It’s like a happy diary. What would you have in your happy diary to show you the way out again?
  4. I talked, to my dearest friend who I have known since uni. Just talking helped a lot. Who would be your person? Your people?
  5. I let myself feel sad. It was about time I grieved for my gorgeous Dad who I’d lost way too soon. Maybe you could write a note to put in your mental health toolkit that gives you permission to just feel the feelings.
  6. I eventually found people to talk things through with. If someone mentions a therapist, psychologist in passing, add them to your toolkit now. Just in case you need them one day. Someone like Suzy Reading or Laura Hans Therapy.
  7. The one thing that helped more than anything was putting on The Greatest Showman soundtrack remixed and dancing ‘like no one was watching’ (thankfully they weren’t) until I laughed out loud. I actually think that was the moment, the grey fog shifted. What would be on your recovery play list?
  8. I started to write this to you. I’d become used to writing to you all. Teaching and helping and it seemed natural for me to sit down and write a note to you. I wrote it all down as a past event, one that I had literally just stepped out of minutes before. Just like journalling, I put a line in the sand and I could move on with that smile and the forever annoying positivity I like to focus on. Here I am posting it to you 13 months later for World Mental Health Day.

Why am I posting this?

*To share a story of real life and hopefully connect with one person who is struggling to navigate life right now.

* To acknowledge that preparation is key. Flag the things that might help you when you need it. Build yourself a little mental health toolkit. Even if you think you are never going to need it.

Privacy Preference Center